Lia’s smile lit up the room and she nodded. “Perfect. I need to get registered for the event and run a couple of errands.”

I frowned playfully. “I’m not sure I want you walking around Vegas without me there to make it clear to every other man that you are mine.”

Lia arched one dark eyebrow and cocked her head to the side. “Yours?”

Before she knew what was happening, I rolled to my back and sat her astride my body. “Fuck yes, you’re mine,” I growled as I thrust up into her again. “Don’t mistake this for something temporary.” I gritted out the words through clenched teeth as I concentrated on not coming too fast while I guided her up and down until she was bouncing on my cock. “Mine.”

Yeah, I was going to be late.

“In all the years I’ve known you, I don’t think you’ve ever been late for a shift.” Drew Lennox ginned at me as I donned my vest in the break room, his fingers playing with a poker chip that was almost always in his hand.

Though he was a good friend, as the owner of the casino, he was technically my boss. However, his comment about my tardiness had nothing to do with my employee status. His sly grin suggested that he’d heard I’d left with a woman the day before and he was digging for information.

“Gossiping, Drew? Does your wife know you grew a pussy?”

The smile vanished from his face and he stood to his full height, which would be intimidating to most people. Except, I was an inch taller and had known him since we were frat brothers in college. And, I’d chosen my words specifically to get a rise out of him.

“I don’t ever want to hear you talk about Autumn and pussy in the same fucking sentence. I don’t care whose pussy you’re referring to.”

As I expected, he hadn’t bothered to defend his manhood, making me laugh. I would have given him shit for being so whipped but after meeting Lia, I wasn’t one to talk.

Drew narrowed his eyes and glared at me when he heard my chuckle. He’d given me the exact reaction I’d been going for, and he knew it. Unfortunately, my plan to distract him and change the subject backfired.

“Knox mentioned that the woman you left with was sexy as hell.”

Rage burst inside me, spreading like wildfire and turning my vision red. I didn’t give a shit that Drew’s head of security was also a good friend, I just wanted to blacken his eyes so he couldn’t ogle my woman. I clenched my fists and snarled, “You tell him that he better keep his eyes”—my tone turned deadly—“and his hands off my woman.”

Drew smirked. “That’s what I thought.” He tossed the chip into the air before catching it and turning towards the door. I silently followed him out, rolling my eyes at myself for my overreaction. I wasn’t normally one to lose my cool, but when it came to Lia, I wasn’t fucking around. I had a feeling that this possessive streak would only get worse until it was completely clear to the world that Lia belonged to me. I needed to get a ring on her finger as soon as possible.

Drew started towards his office but spun back around and shoved a card into my hands. “The jeweler where I bought Autumn’s ring,” he explained as he once again headed in the opposite direction. I glanced down at the thick card stock and smiled before tucking it into my vest pocket.

The casino was fuller than usual for a Saturday afternoon because of the Poker Championship. Every seat at my table was already taken when I arrived to relieve the current dealer. I introduced myself and opened up a fresh deck of cards. The next couple of hours went quickly despite my eyes watching the clock, counting down until I could see Lia again.

The players shifted occasionally but I didn’t pay much attention. Until I felt a hot, tingly sensation on the back of my neck and the smell of apples and vanilla drifted my way. My head snapped up, and my eyes locked with beautiful gray ones.

Lia slid into an empty seat, a cute little smirk on her face. I winked at her before my eyes swept over her and my smile melted into a frown. She looked fucking gorgeous in a sheer, spaghetti-strapped, flowy tank. And, before she’d lowered into her seat, I’d clocked her short, leather skirt. Too fucking short. I glanced around the table and saw the eyes of every other man admiring what belonged to me. A low growl of warning emitted from my chest before I could stop it.

I glared at each one until they stopped staring at my woman and concentrated on their cards. My mood had officially soured, and it had a clear effect on the table because the rate of turnover greatly increased. There was one guy who braved my attitude for longer than the others. I hadn’t liked the way he’d watched Lia, so I concentrated my possessive anger on him until he finally gave up like the others.

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